The Journey of Forgiveness

It was during the sentencing of our son that he read a statement before “God, the judge, and man.”  Isn’t that what happens when you testify in court?  In this statement was his first apology to John and I—before God, the judge, and man.  That plays out beautifully for a Hollywood drama but for us who lived it, it was real life, a real step forward.  This was his first apology for a long long list of wrongs that had happened over the previous couple of years.

I have a choice now to keep that long long list of wrongs.  Or forgive him.  My list is long.  My list is justified.  My list is justified pain that I’m not over yet.  Yet I’m choosing forgiveness.  We both need forgiveness.

The journey to forgiveness begins in pain and ends in hope.  The word that screams the loudest to me right now is the journey.  I’m choosing to be on it.

Forgiveness is hard.  Because it is so hard, we more often opt out of it—with good justifiable reasons.  I’m choosing to be on this journey of forgiveness.

More Dr. Brene’ Brown:

“If you make a choice to forgive, you have to face into the pain.  You simply have to hurt.”  Rising Strong, p. 150.

Guess what?  I hurt already.  That is because I’ve learned that pain is not a mistake to fix. Pain is the beginning.  I’m not numbing it.  I’m ready to move through it—and that means forgiveness.

I know that even mentioning the idea of forgiveness makes you want to check out.  Like me, you have your reasons to not forgive someone.  To forgive that someone is a step too far.  A step that seems unfair of God to ask you to make.  Despite what the Bible teaches.  And you’ve done okay, as of today, without forgiving that person so far.

We’ve got a lot of unlearning to do.  Please stick with me.

Reclaiming our ability to feel is essential for learning to forgive.  Forgiveness is a choice.  You choose to grow yourself through forgiving.  Forgiving is how we move from victim to hero in our story.  Forgiveness turns out to be more about you than letting the other person “off the hook.”  We’ve got a lot of unlearning to do.

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.  Proverbs 17:9.  So true.  And Jesus taught bluntly that we are to forgive others.  This is a journey that is in the possibility of doing.

Stick with me.  We have some unlearning to do as well as some new learning to do.  This will be a series of five articles.  Stick with me for all five.  Stick with the holy tension which will surely follow all the new learning and unlearning.  And let’s see if forgiving that awful awful awful person can become a possibility.

Be brave.

Part 2 is here.
Part 3 is here.
Part 4 is here.
Part 5 is here.

(Photo credit: Luke Porter,


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